Running Made Me Cry….How I became a Runner

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When I first started running it really did make me cry. And whine. And complain. And shoot threatening looks at Jesse when he made me run up long hills. And tell him he was evil. 

When I first started running I thought it was going to be easy. I had run casually in high school. I had been the captain/member of a dance team for five years. I was “fit.” When I started running again I was working as a Flight Attendant. I had stopped dancing about 8 months earlier because my schedule was impossible to maintain with performances. 

So when I stepped out the door, and decided to do a three mile run I expected to do that without any problems. Oh boy, was I in for a shocker! I made it approximately 4 blocks before I took a walking break. I ran/walked for 2 miles, and I was absolutely irate that I couldn’t complete the run the way I expected to. 

My husband, Jesse, is a runner. He can run an 8K in the same time I can run a 5K. He set all of the running records at the university where we got our undergrad degrees, and they have a giant picture of him hanging up in the lobby (see picture below). He get’s embarrassed when I tell people that, but I’m proud of him. He is in our University’s Athletic Hall of Fame for his running accomplishments. 



To be honest, pure stubbornness got me through the initial start of running. I set lots of mini goals along the way. My first goal was to get 1 block further before I had to walk, with my “long term” goal being able to go one mile without walking. I kept using the same running route so I could clearly see my progress. Every time I got an extra block without walking I felt successful. It didn’t take long until I was able to make it one mile without stopping. 

My second goal was to be able to run for 20 minutes without walking. Once I accomplished that I built up to running 30 minutes without stopping. These mini goals made me feel like a successful runner. I didn’t need to compare myself to anyone else. I just had to focus on improving my own performance. 

Now I have run three 5K races, won one trophy and placed in the top four female finishers overall at a race. I went out yesterday and ran 7 miles, and felt like I could do 7 more without a problem. Did I become a runner over night? No. It took a lot of hard work and building. Running started as something I dreaded, and only did because I was unwilling to accept that I “couldn’t” do it. Somewhere in the process it became something that I enjoy. It relieves stress, and I want to get better at it. Up to this point I have not done any speed work, because I enjoy running at a comfortable pace, for a long period of time. Running fast hasn’t really been my thing. I want to improve my 5K time, so that is going to change. 

This was my running schedule last week:

Saturday 7/14: 5K Race 23 minutes and 55 seconds.

Sunday 7/15: Treadmill 5K 23 minutes and 29 seconds. Followed by a running/walking cool down for another 1.7 miles. 

Monday: 3.5 Mile easy run at a light pace for 34 minutes. 

Tuesday: Threshold run. 3.5 Miles alternating 5 minutes at light pace, with 5 minutes at moderate pace for 30 Minutes and 49 seconds. 

Wednesday: 3.2 Mile easy run at a light pace, 30 minutes. 

Thursday: Off. 

Friday: 6 Mile Run at an easy pace for 55 minutes. 

Saturday: Off.

Sunday: 7 Mile Run at an easy pace for 62 minutes, and 6 seconds. 

I am building my mileage, and will be adding some speed work in the hopes of improving my 5K time. Jesse says that at my current level of fitness I should be able to do 21 minute 5Ks. Thus far I have been completely content to find a comfortable pace and stick to it. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you, so it’s time for a change and a new challenge. 

If you have any tried and true techniques for improving your 5K time feel free to share them! 

Melissa


19 thoughts on “Running Made Me Cry….How I became a Runner

  1. farah

    i have also decided that i will switch to running from just walking.. right now i can run for only 6 min without stopping to catch my breath.. but hopefully it will get better with time.. i am also going to keep small goals like you to b successful at running…thanx for sharing..

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing – inspiration! I’m doing my first event in 4 weeks, 7kms as part of a team relay event. I can almost run it all (2x 10 second walks at the top of a hill on my last 6.7km run). Do you have any advice about how to increase speed/fitness in 4 weeks? Keep plugging away at my 8km track for speed? Mix it up? What do you mean by “Threshold run”? (can you tell I’m a bit worried by the team event??). A.

    • You’re very welcome! It’s very exciting, and nerve racking, to do your first event! 4 weeks is a lot of time for improvement. For speed I really like to do hill sprints. You can start by adding in 1 8-10 second uphill sprint at the end of your run for a few runs. The next week add 2 or 3 hill sprints to the end of your run.
      This will help improve your speed and endurance for hills without completely wearing you out.
      Threshold runs help you increase your endurance, and your bodies ability to work at a harder level for longer periods of time. So you pick an amount of time (I do 5 minutes) and run for 5 minutes at a comfortable pace, and 5 minutes at a moderately hard pace. You can alternate like this for 20-30 minutes. Just make sure you do at least 5 minutes of warm up and cool down. 🙂 I hope that helped! Please let me know how your even goes!!!

  3. Hi Melissa,

    I’ve been looking through your weekly and monthly workout schedules. When it comes to your running schedule, do you do run on strength training days, too? Or is it one or the other? How much is too much and what is the optimal combination?

    This is a fantastic website and a great resource! Thank you for sharing…

    Caitlin

    • I combine both. Some days I run and strength train, but on those days I generally go through the workout 1-2X instead of 3X. Also, if it is a very hard or cardio based workout I generally do just the workout.

      As far as determining the optimal combination a lot of that comes down to listening to your body. Make sure you get enough rest. What are your workouts like now? It’s important to build a solid foundation.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story, it sounds like me when I started running a few years ago. I worked my way up to a half marathon. It took me about 2 hours and 10 minutes but I did it. I have never been a fast runner and over the past year I haven’t ran much at all. I enjoy running but even if I run a mile my knees hurt later on. I workout about 5 days a week. Usually HIIT workouts and I’m very careful when doing squats and lunges to not injure my knees. I’m only 24 and I want to get back into running but I don’t want to injure myself. I have flat feet which is probably why I have knee problems. I use insoles and I have good shoes but I still have problems.

    Can you suggest any exercises or other advice to help me or do I need to just give up on running? I found you on youtube today and I think you are awesome. I already did one of your cardio workouts and a yoga one too. Thanks so much.

  5. Anonymous

    Hello,

    I have a question for all the runners here. Where do you run when you run? My biggest challenge is not to keep running or how hard it is but more the traffic. The cars to be more precise. For example, where I live, cars pass you at 130 km/hours. It’s really not pleasant to jog there. Same with the city. Having to stop every 10 meters because there is a traffic light too isn’t very pleasant.

  6. Anonymous

    thank you for your all excellent workouts, I’m 29 and I started running
    4 months ago to improve my cardiovascular fitness, I’ve heard about The Cooper Test (now I can run 2.4 Km in 12 minutes) what test do you recommend to measure cardiovascular fitness?

  7. I’m amazed at how much you run and train too. I’m struggling. I often feel like I have to pick between the two because I get injured so easily. It’s really frustrating. I stretch, do yoga and HIIT workouts but I still seem to have injury prone joints. It is so hard to listen to my body when it says rest because I want to push myself to be better. But if I ran 5 days a week my legs would come apart!:( I wish I could. I love running. Do you think there are just some people who aren’t built for it? Or am I doing something wrong. I’ve done the shoe thing and stretch and foam roll….I’m at a loss!

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